What is the Best Hoka One One Trail Running Shoe?

What is the Best Hoka One One Trail Shoe?

Rightly or wrongly, people often look for the “the best” shoe, whether it be trail, road, cross country, or anything else. The best Hoka trail running shoe depends on various factors, including where you’re going, what you’ve run in before, what your feet are like and more.

Trail runs vary considerably and often consist of sections of road, hard packed tracks, farmers’ fields, or muddy single tracks. No one trail shoe is ideal for all these types of terrains. You must compromise and select one that has the right attributes to suit the majority of your running routes and cope OK with the types of terrain that they are less good at.

All Hoka shoes are lightweight. The midsoles are designed so that your foot sits inside the midsole. This is to give your foot some stability and so that the rocker can guide your foot through the gait cycle. The rocker is simply the curved design of the midsole. This curve is different in different shoes depending on whether they are designed for fast or slow running. The rocker reduces over striding, increases cadence and encourages you to run with a more upright posture. This makes you lighter on your feet and in many cases quicker too!

The softly cushioned midsoles of a lot of the Hoka range are designed to work like Mountain Bike Tyres and absorb some of the lumps and bumps in the trail. This way you don’t get thrown around by the rocks in your path and you can make forward progress.

Best Hoka Trail Shoe For: A Combo of Road & Hard Tracks

A category of trail running shoes known as ‘Road to Trail’ fills the void that once existed for those that are often on the road but want to enjoy some trails whilst they are out too. Hoka’s road to trail shoe is the [Hoka Challenger ATR 6]. The Challenger ATR 6 is available in a mesh upper in regular and wide fit and there’s a GTX Gore-Tex upper version too. The Challenger has the same cushioned midsole as Hoka’s most popular road shoe, the Hoka Clifton [See Hoka Clifton 8]. That means it has enough cushioning to use the shoe on the road and an outsole that offers good grip on hard packed trails and tarmac. The cushioning is soft and gives a smooth ride. The Hoka One One Challenger is not designed for slippery, depper mud and the studs on the outsole are desined to have a large surface area to grip on hard packed trails. They don’t bite into mud like a pointed stud would but aren’t designed to do!

Best Hoka Trail Shoe For: Feeling Nimble Over Firm, Broken Trails

[Hoka Torrent 2] In our opinion the Torrent 2 is probably the most versatile of Hoka’s trail running shoes range. The outsole studs are deeper than the Challenger so the Torrent has better grip in some muddy parts. However, they are still a pretty flat stud, so they ride really well on hard packed trails. The stack height is lower than the Challenger, which gives you more feel for the trail. This makes the shoes nimbler on more broken or wet ground. They will cope with a mile or two or tarmac to get to your trail. However, they won’t feel like a well cushioned smooth road shoe on the tarmac. For more details here is our review: Hoka Torrent Review.

Best Hoka Trail Shoe For: A Softer Ride Over Even the Longest Distances in Trail Terrain

[Hoka Speedgoat 4] As the name suggests the Hoka Speedgoat is designed to help you run at a higher speed over trails. To do this the rocker is positioned so that is pushes you through your transition a bit quicker. The cushioning feels comfy & soft and the outsole is made of a very soft sticky rubber. Whilst the Speedgoat cushioning is enough to be used on tarmac, the soft rubber lugs will wear down if you use them too often on tarmac and is not designed to do so.

The lugs are a little longer than the Torrent 2 lugs, which gives better traction in the wet, but the studs aren’t quite pointed enough to be used in deep, sticky mud. They aren’t a cross country racing shoe and the studs would clog up in deep clay mud. However, they are superb on wet, muddy single-track trails, which is the terrain a lot of us run on. It is not surprising that the Speedgoat was the most worn shoe in the UTMB 2021. Read our Review of the Hoka Speedgoat.

The Speedgoat Evo and Speedgoat 4 only differ in upper design. The Speedgoat Evo has a stretchy elastic part in the center of the upper that is designed to stretch with your foot expansion over time. The new Speedgoat 5 will have this elastic design built in.

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